1. Cakes latest recipes

Vanilla cake


  • 200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for the tins
  • 200g vanilla or golden caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder


  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 500g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and line the bases of two 20cm loose-based sandwich cake tins with baking paper.
  2. Beat the butter and vanilla sugar with an electric whisk for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking in between, then fold in the vanilla, flour and baking powder, along with a pinch of salt. Divide between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until risen and lightly golden – they should spring back when gently pressed. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely.
  3. To make the buttercream, mash the butter with half the icing sugar in a bowl until it forms a paste, then add the remaining icing sugar and beat with an electric whisk until very pale and airy. Whisk in the vanilla and add 1 tbsp of just-boiled water to loosen, if needed.
  4. Sandwich together the cooled cakes with a quarter of the buttercream and put on a plate or cake stand. Spoon the remaining buttercream onto the top of the cake, then work it down the sides using a palette knife. Smooth over the top and sides with a cake scraper or palette knife. Or, for a neater finish, use half the buttercream for a thin crumb coating, chill for 10 minutes in the fridge, then add a neater, second coating over the top for a smoother finish. Decorate with fresh flowers or sprinkles, if you like.